Filed Under:  Columns, Opinion

The Hard Truth… Rush to Action? Hell yeah! Part II

11th February 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Min. J. Kojo Livingston
Contributing Writer

The wheel turns.

About 30 years ago I was running into people in the Movement who were saying that we needed more study and less action, as if you did not need to do both at the same time. Now here we are again with very credible people claiming that we do not need to take action to address either our current condition or our destiny as a people. We should continue to produce thousands of books, hundreds of conferences and millions of DVD’s diagnosing our situation and offering theoretical solutions until something magical happens that will save us, heal us and free us.

I disagree. Strongly.

In 1963 Malcolm X was saying, “It’s already too late,” describing the philosophy and sense of urgency that Black people needed to have back then to address our situation. Fifty years later, there is enough that we do understand and do know to do to have started action yesterday. What needs to be done does not require grants, loans or gifts from white foundations or corporations. You can start in you living room or on your porch or in your church today.

The real work that needs to be done right now does not involve cultural, conscious or activist folks gathering to impress each other. The real work involves reaching out to the masses in practical ways. Let me be specific and clear about what types of things I call “work” or “action.” Most of what is on this list is what we (U.N.I.A. and Destiny One Ministries) are either doing or planning to do in Shreveport, La. Don’t get it twisted: the point is not to brag, because every day I am forced to realize that whatever I’m doing is not enough. We need more soldiers and the field…like yesterday to make a dent in our situation.

• Employment Programs — We bought a lawnmower for the guys hanging out on our block to make a hustle with. They worked their behinds off and made money until the first one was stolen. The second and third ones they broke. Now we’re about to set up a program that will provide them with equipment, a secure storage space and proper instruction and supervision on the use of the equipment. We’re going to get simple uniforms and make a business out of the hustle. Some major local Black business players are interested in helping us start and develop the program/business. Helping them make legal money is only the “hook.” We’re going to help them get their GEDs and get into college or trade school. We will also be teaching them about manhood and their true culture and their place in the family and community. They are also going to learn how to start and run their own businesses. We learned three important lessons from this experience. 1) The brothers hanging on these streets will work; 2) The community will support them. Everybody was hiring our guys to do their yards; 3) You must have training, supervision and support. All this came from me buying one danged lawnmower.

• Gardens — We are setting up gardens in our own yards, and clearing the first of several large lots that will be used to grow food that can be sold and given away to the community.

• Black History/Genealogy Classes — Most of us know something that we can teach. What? you don’t know any Black history? Good news! Ignorance is a curable condition! Go get informed and teach what you have learned.

• Youth Activities — The mere time you spend working with young people can save a life and expand your own understanding of what we are dealing with. After school, tutoring, mentoring, rites of passage, sports, career, field trips, whatever you can help with at the level you are right now can make a difference.

• Health Seminars or Classes —You can’t free a dead nation and we’re dropping like flies from chronic diseases. Most activists and conscious folks know enough to share information that could save some lives. You can do this in a living room or backyard.

• Setting up Schools and Other Cultural Institutions – Help get our children out of the slave master’s mis-educational system.

• Afrikan Market Places – Our primary purpose for doing this is to give Black people who make or grow things a place to sell them but there are so many benefits to doing this that it could take up a whole column. Like drumming, doing the market place awakens that genetic memory of who we are and how we really function.

• Fitness/Dance/Sports — These activities can address health issues, bring people together and teach our culture to our people.

• Advocacy Work — Black people are getting our butts kicked in every way, on every level and in every business or institution we are in. If you help one person resolve an issue, with a school, cops or an employer, more will come. Word gets around quick. You will have more cases than you can handle, as I do now. If you are smart you will find ways to empower people to address their issues and help others. This informs your own work while raising the consciousness of the community.

The list of things that we can and should be doing Right Now is limitless. Our time to act is not.

Brothers and Sisters, our people are literally dying in the streets…this minute! Our children are being mentally, physically, and spiritually assassinated as you read this. Our house is on fire with our people inside! How much longer do you think we should sit around discussing the dynamics of burning before we take some form of action? Or to put it another way…

Whatchagonna DO?

This article was originally published in the February 11, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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